Love art but you are short on cash? At Boothbay Region Art Foundation, the Art in the Square Show and Sale has just kicked off its 16th year. All canvases are 12” x 12” and just $125 a square! Imagine being able to bring home a painting by Tony van Hasselt, Roger Milinowski, John Butke, Polly Steadman, or Virginia Forrest for yourself or someone on your holiday shopping list!
Opening day has always been Black Friday, but this year there has been talk about moving the opening up one week for the annual Early Bird Sale. Traditionally, BRAF is not open that Saturday morning. This year, it was the deadline for artists to bring in their squares. The gallery’s General Manager June Rose was there to receive them and began grouping them on the floor. She was not expecting anybody, but guess what?
“People were coming in – and they were buying! I couldn’t believe it. I sold almost a dozen that day,” Rose said. “We opened the show with 264 pieces and we sold 15 on Black Friday. I think it was a reasonably successful first day considering things are different this year.”
Rose said the Milinowski oil paintings have been hard to keep on the walls; the same went for André Benoit’s wooden assemblage works in his owl series. As she moved through the gallery, Rose read an artist’s name near a work and often said, “Oh, I think I’ve sold quite a few of theirs, too.”
Among the other artists are Maria Doelp, Jean Kigel, Ann Hedgecock, Suzanne Norton, Herb Smith, Marjorie de Garmo, Bruce Macdonald, Lois Glaser, Alice Mutch, Sarah Wilde, Sandra Leinonen Dunn, Scott Wilson, Valerie Healy, Carol Wiley, Helen Fellows, Wendy Bellows and Charlene Lee.
Artists new to Art in the Square include Tania Amazeen-Jones, whose painting of a mermaid and child is charming; Jennifer Johnson, who paints wildlife and nature scenes; Kichung Lee Lizeé, who brings a Korean vibe to the show with her classic style; and Sandra Chase Morrissey, whose quirky abstracts include scenics with tilting buildings – a bit of chaos and a lot of movement!
This year, there is a special wall of 12” x 12” paintings donated to BRAF for this event. Buy one of these and all $125 goes to help BRAF fund its mission: “To create opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy, learn from and participate in the visual arts.” These opportunities include the annual spring Student Art Show, educational programs and art classes, student scholarships, member shows and sales in the gallery, off-site shows and sales and two major annual juried shows.
In addition to Art in the Square, on the second floor a collection of watercolors by Herb Maynard (1929-2007) are for sale. Rose said Maynard was very well-known in the region and many people collected his work, including Burl Ives. Maynard taught art at one of the University of Maine campuses.
“The collection of scenics has some of the paintings he did when he was in Ireland, places around the region and other coastal places,” said Rose. “I’ve sold several of them, too.”
Also on the second floor is the all new Holiday Boutique, the brainchild of BRAF’s brand new co-directors Ann Hedgecock and Annette Stormont. For this first year, the work of 10 artists and artisans – pottery, note cards, handmade textiles, ceramics and more lovely gift ideas – are beautifully displayed. There is even a tabletop Christmas tree adorned with small versions of Hedgecock’s pottery as ornaments.
Artist-board member Mark Coates, a former director, said the art community’s interest in being part of the show is, like the quality of the work, extraordinary.
“We (the board) weren’t sure what level of response we’d get because of how off things were because of COVID-19. But visitors are still coming to the region weekends … it’s a testimony to the creativity of people on this peninsula.”
Art in the Square and the Holiday Boutique continue through Jan. 16. BRAF is at 1 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor. The gallery is open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 633-2703 or check BRAF out on Facebook.